If you were leaning toward a CZ to CCW, two of the strongest contenders are going to come down to the CZ 75 Compact vs PCR. CZ makes some of the best pistols to be had, though their product lineup is a bit heavier on the full-size guns than on concealed carry pistols.
That said, these two guns are among the best and most popular for that purpose. Both have a lot in common, as they are both compact versions of the CZ-75, but do have some significant differences.
Which is better? The fit and feel are going to be about the same; it’s practically the same gun. What the decision will come down to is what you like in a double-action carry gun.
CZ-75 Compact: CZ’s Greatest Hits In A Compact Package
The CZ-75 Compact, or more accurately the CZ-75B Compact, is just like the CZ-75B, with a bit hacked off the barrel, the slide and the grip to make it more packable and concealable. The overall length is reduced by about ¾” and the grip by about ½”.
Just about everything else is the same as the CZ-75. If you like the CZ-75 but wish it was a little smaller for carry, this is the gun to have.
It has a steel frame, which the slide rides inside, giving it tight lockup and a low bore axis. The CZ-75 Compact, as a result, is known for better shooting manners than some full-size service pistols.
Magazines were classically 14+1 of 9mm, but in the fullness of time CZ ships the same 15+1 magazines for all of their compact variants of the 75.
Barrel length is 3.75 inches, with overall dimensions of 7.24 inches long, by 5.03 inches tall and 1.38 inches wide. It weighs 32 ounces unloaded.
The classic CZ-75 is a “love it or hate it” proposition due to the operating system. Like the full-size, it’s a DA/SA system but has a manual safety instead of a decocker.
You can either safely lower the hammer (over a live round) or engage the manual safety and carry the gun in Condition 1. Ergo, it’s a manually-operated DA/SA pistol or you can run it like a single-action with second-striker capability, almost like an improved Browning Hi Power.
With that said, the CZ-75 Compact is slim and compact enough for easy concealment, but retains the ergonomics and shootability of the full-size.
A Few Refinements Available On The CZ 75D PCR
The CZ-75D PCR features an acronym, which will become increasingly obvious. “PCR” is for “Police Czech Republic,” as the gun was designed for the police in…hold on a minute…the Czech Republic, where CZ was founded, still is headquartered and makes a whole lot of their guns.
It’s almost identical to the CZ 75 Compact in most terms. The dimensions are the same, with a couple of exceptions. The rear sight is ramp rather than the standard posts, though they are adjustable (front and rear) on both models. The slide is also different, as it’s the slide of the P-01 though the PCR lacks the railed frame.
The CZ 75D PCR’s frame is an aluminum alloy rather than steel, which brings unloaded weight down to 28 ounces.
However, the party piece is the controls. The “D” designator is the “Decocker” models in CZ’s nomenclature, with a frame-mounted decocking lever in easy reach of the shooting hand thumb.
The PCR decocks to a safety notch that’s a little ahead of half-cock. The PCR isn’t 100 percent decocked, but you still get the longer, stiffer trigger pull of double-action mode. For those that prefer the security of a DA trigger, this lets you carry that way much like the double-action Sig Sauer pistols.
Another difference is the sight cuts, as the PCR and P-01 have a unique rear sight dovetail alongside the rear ramp sight. The CZ 75 Compact uses the same rear sight dovetail as the standard CZ 75B. Therefore, if you upgrade your sights as a matter of course (and some people do) that is something to be aware of…and some owners report that finding sights for the CZ 75D PCR is a chore.
So…classic CZ ergonomics, but with one of the better control layouts for a DA/SA pistol with a decocker.
Settling The CZ 75 Compact Vs PCR
Because of the control schemes, people who are looking at a CZ to conceal and carry are going to naturally gravitate toward one or the other. It depends largely on what a person likes out of a double-action gun because it’s the same gun with a couple of minor differences. It will feel so closely the same in the hand that you probably aren’t going to pick one over the other on that basis.
The CZ-75 Compact is arguably the bargain of all time from a certain viewpoint because it gets you into a double-stack compact single-action for a heck of a lot less than a Staccato or a Wilson EDC pistol. Capacity is 15+1, it has a manual safety, and it’s compact. MSRP is just under $600. You can manually decock it too, if so desired.
The CZ-75D PCR is better if you want to run a DA/SA gun as a DA/SA gun. It has a decocker, and arugably one of the better decocker designs on the market. Sig Sauer’s puts the lever a little far forward and it has a long throw – which can be awkward – and not everyone cares for the Beretta/S&W/Walther-style slide-mounted design. If a traditional DA gun is to your liking, it’s one of the best you can buy.
Both guns are a little on the heavy side for a compact, but not that heavy and a good belt makes it a non-issue.
So it comes down to how you prefer a hammer-fired DA/SA (or SAO?) pistol to be. Handle both, shoot both, and figure out which is best for you and your context.
Have you shot these firearms? What did you like, and what didn’t you?
Let us know in the comments below!